Healthy North Coast

Occupational Therapist

What is occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy (OT) is a client-centred health profession concerned with promoting health and well being through occupation. The primary goal of OT is to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life. Occupational therapists achieve this by working with people and communities to enhance their ability to engage in their occupations or by modifying the occupation or the environment to better support their occupational engagement.

Occupational therapists do a variety of work including:

Working with children:

  • Helping children achieve their developmental milestones such as fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
  • Educating and involving parents and carers in the normal child  development and learning

Rehabilitation and aged care:

  • Helping clients regain or enhance their lives after events such as hip replacement or stroke.
  • Assessing and modifying clients’ home and community environments to improve safety and independence.
  • Prescribing and educating clients and carers in the use of adaptive equipment to assist function.

Acute care:

  • Specialist interventions in areas including surgery, burns, HIV and acute mental health.
  • Assessing clients’ cognition, function and psychosocial needs.
  • Monitoring clients’ function and progress, prescribing adaptive equipment to ensure safety upon discharge

Injury management:

  • Using specialised assessments to determine the functional requirements of various jobs, and clients’ capacity to return to work.
  • Designing and coordinating return to work programs.
  • Educating clients in safe work practices.
  • Modifying the work environment to prevent or minimise injuries.

Mental health:

  • Designing individual and group programs and activities to enhance independence in everyday activities.
  • Developing coping in overcoming mental health issues.
  • Improving’ confidence and self esteem in social situations.

To become a qualified occupational therapist, you need to complete an undergraduate course in occupational therapy at university. To find an occupational therapist in your area, visit: